Category phonology

The fall and rise of Liz Truss (‘s discourse)

Most Prime Ministers rise and fall. Liz Truss seems to fall then rise – in her spoken discourse, that is. In this post, I present a brief analysis of the some of the prosodic features of the Prime Minister’s language… Continue Reading →

Voice Audio Rating Scale (VARS)

The Voice Audio Rating Scale (VARS) is a rating scale I have developed for measuring the quality of voice audio over conferencing software such as Zoom, Teams or Skype. The scale has five levels (A to E) and two outliers… Continue Reading →

Slip of the Tongue

An interesting slip of the tongue here by Kay Burley, Sky news presenter, which can almost be called an internal Spoonerism.

Using intonation to predict the end of turn

In spoken discourse, we can usually predict when our conversational partner is about to finish a turn by listening to their intonation. This is not always successful, however, as demonstrated by the following clip in which a TV host assumes… Continue Reading →

Tone unit – worked example (L2)

When we speak, we tend to speak in ‘chunks’ – small groups of words. Each chunk has its own change in intonation and there is usually a brief pause before the next chunk. We call these chunks ‘tone units’ and… Continue Reading →

Slip of the Tongue (Sally Who?)

Sally Who? You don’t get a name like that unless you work for the BBC!

Speech perception is fast!

Speech perception is fast, really fast. It has been demonstrated that the human ear and mind can decode around 20 phonemes per second. That is about 20 speech sounds! However, when it comes to decoding non-speech sounds such as buzzes,… Continue Reading →

Pitch & Tone

Difference Between Pitch and Tone The difference between pitch and tone is very small and not easy to understand. Don’t worry if you still don’t understand after reading this – it will take some time before you do. Pitch is… Continue Reading →

Pitch Dynamism Quotient

Pitch Dynamism Quotient is a measure of the variation a speaker has in the pitch of their voice over a length of speech. It can be considered as a measure of the ‘liveliness’ (Hincks, 2004) a speaker puts into their… Continue Reading →

Use of pitch range

When making an oral presentation, a skilled presenter will use the full pitch range in order to structure and segment their monologue. Pitch can be useful in a presentation to highlight, among other things, the division of the talk into… Continue Reading →

Tone in Chinese

Chinese (Mandarin) has four different tones numbered 1 to 4: high level, rising, fall-rise and falling. These tones are often shown on the top of the vowel in the Pinyin systems for writing Chinese (eg. mā to indicate high level… Continue Reading →

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